Per Mertesacker has underlined the importance of making a good start at White Hart Lane claiming a focused defensive performance will help silence Sp*rs players and fans.
Recalling the brilliant start made by the Gunners last year, when Tomas Rosicky opened the scoring inside two minutes, the German went on to note that four clean sheets in the last five games make for a confident camp ahead of one of the game’s of the season.
Speaking to Arsenal Player the BFG said: “We know from recent years that defensive unity is vital especially against our north London rivals, so we have to be really cautious on the defensive front.
“We need to be really focused, especially in the first 15 minutes, to keep the players and the crowd quiet, then afterwards let’s play our game and try to do it again.
“We did very well last season, as we scored very early and then defended well until the end, so it’s going to be the target for this year. We have good confidence at the moment so let’s show that again.”
“It’s a special atmosphere in both grounds, a special atmosphere from the supporters’ side, so we have to realise that,” he continued.
“It comes very quickly into your mind that it’s a special game for everyone at this club, so you better get on with it quickly otherwise it will hurt you. We did well especially last season – we won all our games – so let’s focus on not giving them any chance.”
Elsewhere Theo Walcott says the north London derby is the game he most looks forward to each season…which might be a little surprising given his last ended in an injury that ruled him out for a whole year.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, the England international said: “It is enjoyable — it’s a bit different and it is always a great atmosphere at White Hart Lane. It is probably the fixture I always look forward to playing in the most, to be fair. It is one of the biggest games for both sets of fans and this year it is going to be tight.
“Tottenham are doing very well, getting those last-minute goals which shows a knack of getting important three points. It will be two very strong teams that are very high on confidence so for the neutral it will be a very interesting game.
“It is going to be difficult to call but if we play the way we did against Villa, hopefully, it will be ours. A draw wouldn’t be a terrible result but we always play to win.”
Arseblog News chose to redact Theo’s comments about ‘banter’ with the Sp*rs fans.